|Always choose low sugar dark chocolate.|
Dark chocolate can be a saint or a sinner?
Magnesium: Dr. James Wilson ND discusses chocolate in his landmark book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. He writes about how chocolate cravings are signals of magnesium deficiency and signs of too much stress. Magnesium deficiency affects 70%-90% of people and is involved in over 300 vital bodily processes such as proper digestion and optimal blood pressure. Chocolate has high levels of magnesium but it is hard to absorb because of nutrient inhibitors called phytates. Good food sources of magnesium include seaweed/ sea vegetables, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, halibut, and pumpkin seeds. Natural Calm, my favorite magnesium supplement Natural Calm Raspberry Lemon 16 Ounces will help you relax and ease tight muscles.
Healthy Fats: The main fat in chocolate is called stearic acid which is a saturated fat that has been shown not to raise cholesterol. Saturated fats have been good for us for the past 2.5 million years until 1953 when Professor Ancel Keys told us that this essential food caused heart disease in his 7 countries study which has since been found to be full of holes by many experts. Unfortunately his study is what our national nutrition guidelines are based upon.
High in Antioxidants: Flavanoids that protect blood vessels, improve circulation, and prevent cancer are plentiful in chocolate. Dark chocolate also has Resveratrol which can protect against early aging and Alzheimer’s.
Heart Healthy: In studies dark chocolate has been shown to be anti-inflammatory helping reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke.
Cholesterol: In studies dark chocolate increased Hdl cholesterol. It is important to have a good Hdl to Ldl ratio and and Hdl about 60-80 is excellent. Watch this video about how cholesterol can be good for you. Most of the time high cholesterol is a sign of a excess inflammation in the body usually from food toxins like canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, grain consumption, or excessive carbohydrate intake.
Fiber: Dark chocolate can have over 10 grams of fiber in a 3.5 oz bar. This can help slow the impact of the carbohydrates and possibly improve digestion. Guidelines tell us to get 30 grams of fiber per day, which is easily attainable from vegetables and small amounts of fruit. Wouldn’t you rather get fiber from chocolate than All-Bran cereal?
Anxiety: Current studies show dark chocolate may even help people suffering from high levels of anxiety to reduce their stress hormone production.
Aphrodisiac: Theobromine is a stimulant in chocolate that has also been identified as one of the compounds putting us in the mood. Theobromide has similar effects on the body as caffeine and can be overstimulating.
|So many choices!|
Dark chocolate sins:
Hydrogenated fats: If you buy regular grocery store chocolate like Hershey’s or Nestle you may be eating damaged, cheap omega-6 oils like canola or hydrogenated soybean oil. Always be sure to check to label and pay a little more for good quality.
Lead: It has been found that inexpensive grocery store chocolate can be contaminated with lead. Always get the best chocolate you can afford. See the resources below for quality brands.
High Fructose corn syrup: This non-food usually comes from genetically modified corn and is sweeter than sugar. It is even more likely than unprocessed sugars to cause inflammation and high triglycerides which are markers for diabetes and cardiac risk. Choose dark organic chocolate to avoid this garbage ingredient.
Sugar: According to Dr. Mike Eades the body can only handle 5 grams of sugar at any one time without causing an insulin spike enough to be considered pre-diabetic. The constant rise and fall of blood sugar will lead to cravings and weight gain. Make sure and buy chocolate that is over 80% dark chocolate which is usually lower in sugar and carbs.
Caffeine: 1.5 oz Dark chocolate contains 25 to 40 mg per serving and can have an impact on a person with adrenal fatigue giving a lift of energy lift leading to a crash later. A regular 8 oz cup of coffee has about 65 mg of caffeine (but who drinks an 8 oz small cup?). Caffeine from chocolate can enhance the sensitvity of endorphin receptors creating a feeling of dependence.
Soy Lecithin: Comes mostly from genetically modified soybeans which can be a gut irritant especially in people who already have a compromised immune system such as Lupus, MS, Hashimoto’s ect.
Phytates: Cacao is a seed that is high in phytates which can bind to minerals like calcium and magnesium and strip them from the body. We cannot afford this to happen because stress (and grains) already deplete vital minerals leading to disease and osteoporosis.
Oxalates: Some research presents evidence that chocolate can exacerbate kidney stones. It is important drink plenty of water, get plenty of magnesium and avoid sugar prevent kidney stones.
Tannins: Some people react to the tannins in chocolate which can trigger migraines.
Autoimmune reaction: Chocolate can mimic the actions of grains/ gluten flaring autoimmunity and leaky gut. Milk is another common ingredient that can have implications for people with leaky guts and food allergies.
Molds: Cheap chocolates can have toxic molds called aflotoxins that can grow while being stored similar to grains which can cause cancer and inflammation. Some European chocolates have stricter mold regulations according to The Bulletproof Executive like Lindt which also has a commitment to sustainability and fair trade according to their website.
Making the best choice for you:
Choose Organic: Non-organic chocolate production uses pesticides and fertilizers which damage the soil and pollutes our water.
Fair Trade: Unfair trade leads to exploitation of poor communities and child workers. For some ethical organic chocolate try these brands: Alter Ego, Theo or Dagoba Organic Chocolate Bars.
Ask yourself why am I craving chocolate now?
Maybe you just need a nap or to shut off the computer a little earlier. You may need to supplement with magnesium and to take an Epsom salt bath. You can also get magnesium from bone broth and eating more dark leafy greens. Also you could just be thirsty and need a big glass of filtered lemon water. It can also be a sign that you are just hungry. Try eating a big hunk of fat and protein and see if it goes away.
A great book about adrenal fatigue which may be causing your chocolate cravings: